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Pulisic, McKennie, Dest and Reyna headline record-setting group of USMNT players named to Champions League rosters

A record 10 U.S. Men’s National Team players and prospects have been named to rosters for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.

Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Gio Reyna headline a group that will take part in the tournament group stages, which begin on Oct. 20.

A total of eight of the 10 are included on their respective teams A-list rosters, with Chris Richards at Bayern and Konrad De La Fuente at Barcelona currently on their team’s B list rosters, which means they are eligible to be added to matchday squads.

The aforementioned 10 aren’t the only Americans taking part in the Champions League group stage. Jesse Marsch is manager of Red Bull Salzburg, which is also competing in the tournament.

There is a potential for some American versus American clashes during the group stage, with Weston McKennie and Juventus taking on Sergino Dest, Konrad De La Fuente and Barcelona. Marsch’s Red Bull Salzburg faces Richards’ Bayern Munich.

The Champions League group stage begins on Oct. 20th.

Comments

  1. What this tells you is the US currently has the most talent in Concacaf and the gap is actually pretty wide. There is really no excuse I’ll accept, barring mass injuries, for the US not to qualify comfortably at the top of the group.

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    • Amen. I get bored with the people indulging recent coaches in our mess, either Arena botching it or this recent missionary crap where we aim to change the whole way we play. Even hollowed out last cycle this was a top 3 team — and got results against Honduras and Panama like so — and right now anything less than about 2nd is messing up. Bluntly, based on Sarachan beating Mexico in 2018 when we played defensive soccer for a half, I am not sure if I find our implicit concession of 1st to be appropriate. I think with good coaching we should be able to beat anyone and find splitting with Canada unacceptable (does anyone notice where they finished in the final regional rankings? not even top 5). To me if Berhalter’s “mousetrap” can’t get those results in a year and change — with all this new talent available — he’s more a hindrance than a help. I think our only challenge should be Mexico (and maybe CR away).

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    • You mean like last year when Brooks, Adams, Pulisic, and Steffen were all injured at the same time. Costa Rica is down but still has Navas one of the worlds best keepers, Panama, and Trinidad are also down. However, Canada has their best ever squad led by Davies top 10 player in the world and David who plays for Lille. Mexico still has plenty of Europe based talent including Jimenez who has over 30 EPL goals the last two years.
      ————————————
      There is no reason we shouldn’t qualify but this idea it won’t still be a challenge is naive.

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      • It is always difficult to win on the road in CONCACAF. Nevertheless, we should win every home game and get at least a draw everywhere else. While Mexico is always tough because they play so well together and Azteca is a horrible place to play, I wouldn’t ever trade our talent for theirs. It’s not really close right now. In the past Mexico usually won by dominating the midfield. Those days are over for at least 2 cycles.

    • By my count Mexico had 6 starters with Champions League experience starting on Wednesday when they beat the Netherlands on the road. That was without Lozano who also has CL experience. Several others have Europa League experience. Most of those matches being played for Portuguese or Dutch clubs but El Tri has players in their prime years 25-30 with a lot CL experience. Most of those guys are hitting the top end of that but they’re youth teams have enough talent to fill in. It’s all well and good that Sarachan beat Mexico’s domestic squad in 2018 but to compare that to the squad Tata had in 2019 is apples to oranges.

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      • The part you seem confused about is if you throw out the TnT away loss as anomalous, bad team or not, we had 4 points from Honduras, 4 points from Panama, and a home blowout against TnT. That consistent form should have led to no less than 3rd place last cycle. But we blew the final game and only netted one point from the top 2 teams. While Mexico is still quality, Arena drew away last time — after the switch — and we already have a win this cycle under Sarachan and played 45′ a decent game in the gold cup final — we just didn’t score. Right tactics I think we would be competitive. CR was good and owned us last cycle, but this cycle they lost to Haiti in Gold Cup, then in NL three of their games were ties with Curacao and Haiti. Even setting aside the B squad friendlies, that says they may be a more ordinary team. No, last cycle if we had finished the job in Couva we were a 3rd place team, and this time we COULD be up to 2nd or 3rd. But given what happened last time, there of course are no guarantees — there never are — even if I think we have second or first place talent coming in. But what I find gross is talking down a team with that potential to defend an unsuccessful underperforming coach. Which was my real point. It’s fine to say we have to play the games and get the results. It’s annoying to pretend like the coach is maximizing or like regional 7th place Canada — even on the ascendant with a couple new stars — is the equivalent of our full team. I’m not even going to go with unpatriotic. I’m going so say subjective and not objective. The players deserve better and under Sarachan got some results that hint we should be better.

      • You neglect the first half of the GC final we should have had about 4 goals and if we get them that game ends different. Outplayed them for about 30′. You can be dismissive of your own national team all you want but we beat them once, had them on the ropes once more, and only looked in the 3-0 friendly like we had no business. if you played soccer I would think you would get that if I beat someone once and could have beat them again, I could probably do it a third time. And if you’re going to be snooty about who was on the field when, WHEN THEY BEAT US IN QUALI LAST TIME, IT WAS IN EXTRA TIME. The other game we had the lead in Azteca and tied. There is literally one blowout in the lot. Every other game since 2016 we’ve been in the game, even depleted down last cycle. And what you also don’t seem to grasp is that in a rivalry game or qualifier, I think the right tactics and you can get out with the result no matter what the form book says. If TnT can get a win off us — and there is no way they were our general equal — then with the right plan like Sarachan and Arena had — we could easily take some points off them, maybe split the games. I think you’re such a stats nerd you can’t see how the supposedly weaker team could ever finish ahead. My experience playing actual soccer it happens all the time. But you need a disciplined game plan and a good coach. Berhalter never beats better teams because he’s a mediocre coach with cutesy ideas. The sort of coach who down a goal to Mexico puts on Roldan and Lovitz to push his theories, instead of attackers who can get him that goal. No, you’re missing that it’s not that we can’t keep up with Mexico — we did it for 30′ in even a losing effort — it’s we need a better coach and more finishers on the field.

    • IV your misunderstanding my point. Yes this team has a lot of promise and they appear to be a golden generation but they haven’t won anything yet nor have they really even been able to play together do to injury. Mexico has one of their stronger groups and they’ve been together for awhile. They also have a stable manager that they haven’t always had.

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  2. While an accomplishment and nice to see, I’ll be more impressed when “ALL” of them actually see the field in competitive games. Currently only half of the players listed have actually featured in a competitive game for their clubs.

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    • I do think the list reeks of “PR” — why are we touting club stuff this much — but I’d cut the other way. Bluntly I think more players off this list should be involved in the MNT even if their club has them benched or is bringing them along slowly as a prospect. Our incumbent roster isn’t great yet. The kids on the list are often good players making their way through tough club systems. I find it absurd right now how we promote the less talented players at less ambitious career choices ahead of the ones so in demand Bayern Munich signs them. You will see Aaronson or Dest before Reyna or Richards. I think we get it precisely backwards. I think Klinsi would have it prioritized the other way around.

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      • It’s a tweet of course it’s “PR”. Everyone one of those players has represented the US at some level and most at multiple levels. Rumor was everyone on the list would have had at least one call up by now if not for Covid. So kudos to your hero Klinsi for stopping global pandemics during his tenure. I guess those infectious disease specialists really “expressed themselves” in their matches during his reign.

      • GB wasn’t selecting right before the pandemic. It’s no excuse. It’s a shield to hide behind and claim against evidence that all the missing players were about to be recalled in the cancelled games. We don’t actually know that, do we? We don’t know for a fact Adams and Weah and Reyna and Richards were next. We don’t know he learned a thing systemically from how NL went.

  3. i found it a little rich considering horvath is pastured for supposed “club form” and richards, mendez, and de la fuente have been put on the kiddie track to U23 instead of the senior team for similar reasons — even as richards is progressed to his first team. to me it speaks to club snob schizophrenia, acknowledging talented players at good teams — touting this accomplishment — only to turn around parroting GB and act like “first team” is something besides an arbitrary reason some are in and some are out. and then when they get first team we reverse ourselves and treat them as senior eligible adults. Klinsi wouldn’t do this nonsense.

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    • If I understand your point correctly (and I’m not sure that I do), the answer is that Berhalter puts a lot of emphasis on qualifying and playing in the Olympics. I don’t see anything wrong with that since we can use those good young players in qualifying and the actual WC, too.

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      • how do the olympics matter? we missed 2012 olympics and the senior team immediately went to world cup 2014 and made the knockouts. germany has made one olympics since 1988. GB/UK has entered one team in decades. the olympics and world cup do not relate. i also wonder what NT on the planet sandbags the senior squad to pursue age group success. do you not think that some of the mediocrities in the tail end of a 23 are worse than kids in the u23?? and don’t forget that until sargent broke out, GB was going to send sargent to the kiddie pool as well. it’s absurd and unjustifiable. i care more about the world cup than getting all twisted about whether we make the olympics.

      • Imperative–Just how valuable the Olympics is can be debated. But it gives young players a chance at very high level competition against top teams from around the world. A higher level than the youth world cups or, especially in our case, more challenging than continental competitions like the Gold Cup. Now this year you can argue it is not so important because we have so many of our young players playing in the Champions League. Some people argue that the CL is more competitive than the WC. Whether or not it is true, it is certainly tougher than CONCACAF WC qualifying. However, this is unique for the US so that in the past the Olympics would have been very important. Now, maybe not so much, but a lot of people maybe haven’t adjusted to the new reality since so many of our young players have only recently gone to top teams.

      • The part you’re missing is if the schedule goes as pencilled — and that’s a big if — we have Gold Cup and Olympics roughly same time. Both offer games that count and a stern player test. I think people want for U23 to be huge but sorry I don’t buy even the elite U23 teams are better than a knockout round Gold Cup team of adult age players. And trialing with the Gold Cup team for that tournament gives those players NT experience in the region, and a chance to show what they have, while going to the Olympics hands the coach the excuse they aren’t ready. I could understand the risk aversion if we were dominant — we aren’t. It’s a perfect opportunity to look for added help. As it stands the A Team will be busy with qualifying all summer and fall and probably need rest. So the question is do we send the interesting young players in bulk to a kiddie tournament or give them a shot with the seniors. I think sending the best prospects to the Olympics denies us information and help, in pursuit of reputational value as opposed to actual sporting reinforcements. I thought what actually mattered was the MNT. I thought U23 was a pipeline to the NT. i then do not understand sending leading MNT candidates to the kiddie pool when we have a window when the A Team cannot play. it doesn’t make sense if your real goal is finding the best team to qualify — because GC is a harmless way to test them. It makes sense if you are obsessed with “looking good” ie correcting the reputational slight of not making the Olympics. as i pointed out, GB rarely sends a team and Germany rarely qualifies. making the Olympics is a sideshow concern.

      • IV–Regarding GC vs. Olympics, WC qualifying is important. The Gold Cup really is meaningless. It’s only real value is 1. You can cap tie players, and 2. You can qualify for the Confederations Cup. However, there will be no Confederations Cup this time because the virus has screwed up all the schedules. Thus, the GC really is not important, no more so that the Olympics, IMO.

    • LOL. Klinsi?! The guy mocked by, or ignored by, every competent person inthe soccer industry worldwide. Klinsi is a used car salesman/populist politician who knows how to manipulate the ignorant, just plain dumb, emotional, insecure and self loathing. To promote Klinsi is to show one’s own general ignorance and emotional instability. How sad.

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      • my point is not that klinsi — particularly his second cycle — was great, but i think he was smart about the kids he brought into the team — pulisic, morris, green, etc. and on each of those he didn’t wait around for the club team to stamp approval, nor did he send them for kiddie pool apprenticeships in the olympics. talent is talent. if reyna and richards were under klinsi they would already be in the team. the veterans are not that good and you could see it coming light years away that by now they would be first team players at big clubs. so why can’t we see talent for what it is and anticipate. why do we have to sandbag and send it to u23??

      • and laugh all you want. way i roll in life is you laugh now and in a year or two see exactly what i meant. i’d rather be right than liked.

    • Ha the US had a single international game since Reyna turned 17? I don’t buy that JK would have called Reyna. The one time GB had a chance to vs Costa Rica in Feb. 2020 before Reyna made his first appearance for Dortmund’s first team. I think actually had planned to call him up for the postoned Hunduras game later. Reyna was not availble or trying to earn a spot on Dortmund’s first team. In 2019 he was with the NYFC academy team, moved to the Dortmund academy in July of 2019 and made his first appearance for the Dortmund first team in Feb of 2020. Pretty fast progress, but to think GB screwed up somehow by not calling him up earlier is silly. No matter what you think of GB, he was right about this.

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    • JK abandoned Green in his second cycle when Julian stopped appearing for his club. Morris had 1g 1a in 12 appearances for JK, and of course was sent with U23 they just didn’t qualify. In 2015 he appeared in 5 NT matches playing 105 mins total and 11 U23 matches playing 823 mins. Pulisic was called in in the exact same window as Reyna just didn’t have a pandemic.

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      • you’re conflating the befuddled second term klinsi’s use of players with the timing of when he brought them in first term. your argument is they should not even be brought in. as such his first term hair trigger is more relevant. sniff. i’m not defending his game management. for that matter, your analysis is blatantly inaccurate. klinsi had him on the bench for his first two hex qualifiers, and played him the 2 friendlies preceding the hex. he then got fired. he was a sub on the world cup team and a sub when we got serious qualifying. try and get your facts right next time.

    • Green played just 121 minutes in the 20 months following the WC being not called to the squad for 33 of 40 matches and only seeing the field 3 times between his WC goal and the Cuba friendly. He played 4 times for the U23s during that time. What changed, he made a Pokal appearance for Bayern’s first team and suddenly he was brought back for the two friendlies. Facts are such a pain.

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      • My argument wasn’t that they shouldn’t have been brought in, my argument your premise Juergen would have done this is wrong because he did exactly what your constantly complaining about. Green ditched when he lost club form when he started playing against men instead of U23s, Morris was sent to play with U23s and kept getting calls despite not producing 1g for a striker in 12 app.

  4. The most incredible part is that (other than the keepers), Pulisic and McKennie are the grandpa’s of the bunch having just turned 22.

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    • My thoughts exactly.
      These guys have so much potential to become truly great players. This is the type of development that US soccer fans have been waiting for around 10-15 years. We always assumed that the growth of the player pool would be linear and each generation more talented than the last. It was exactly that for around 30 years until the last decade player development slumped significantly. This generation looks to be a giant leap forward after taking a step back. It’s a very exciting time to be a fan

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